Posted by: evesmarketing | June 18, 2013

Help My House is on Fire cont: Modular vs Mother Nature

Modular vs Mother Nature

Ever hear these old sayings… a bad beginning makes a good ending… or… any crash you walk away from is good crash?  Well, that was the way we felt… when late Friday afternoon, a long enclosed box trailer was discovered parked at the edge of our fire site lot!  How or who parked it there was a mystery to us, because we never saw or heard a thing!  Could this mean the modular was coming next week?  Was someone teasing us and just temporarily parked this trailer on our side of the road?  A quick phone call to Chuck at Riley’s Mfg.Homes in Urbana, Ill. brought us the much awaited news… OUR MODULAR WAS COMING… the Modular was coming…next Thursday… oh joy…oh rapture… OH NUTS!!  Did I happen to mention Mother Nature’s plans for next week?  She was planning storms for Wednesday and all thru the week end.  And, to add even more good news to this dismal picture, Thursday was to have a high risk for strong winds, heavy rains, thunder storms… and even more good news… JUST A SLIGHT RISK OF TORNADOES!  All we could visualize was our new modular spinning up and away, even before we got to see it!!!… Auntie Em… Auntie Em… hang on to To To!

truck, trailer and supplies

Truck with trailer and supplies

Monday through Wednesday saw nothing happening next door on the fire site lot. Meanwhile at our house, we were holding our breaths and praying for good weather!  All we could do was wonder if the bad weather would delay the modular from being delivered!  We would have to wait and see what would happen on Thursday!  Finely, Thursday arrived… the wind was gusty and blowing, but the sky had just scattered clouds… and… YEP, sunshine was coming through those scattered clouds!  We kept going to the window… hoping for some type of action, or some one to appear on site… but no action… nothing… all was quiet on the Midwestern front!  I guess 6:00 am is just a little early, maybe a little too early for construction work!  Finely, around 9:00am, we heard the clatter of ladders banging against each other!  They were here… the crew has returned!  We heard the noise of laborers at work! We ran outside and discovered… JUST two workers!  Are we or are we not going to get our modular home today?  So, I went out to talk to one of the men, and he told me those  words every woman wants to hear… YES, IT WILL BE HERE TODAY!!!  Then he explained it would be delivered about 11:00am.  Also, there would be a special team coming to help set up the modular!  This is all the team does … just set up modular homes.  I expressed my concern about the weather, especially the wind! But he assured me there would be no problem with the wind.

preparing rails for modular

Preparing the rails for the modular

By 10am, the men had arrived and set to work, building an aluminum RAILROAD TRACK SYSTEM on which each half of the modular home would ride on. These tracks will allow the men to PUSH the first half of the modular in an East or West direction! They then started constructing another set of rails which will allow them to push-pull the halves in a North or South direction. These rails had to be built, and be in place, before the modular house arrived!  You might be wondering how the house could be put onto the rails. The answer to this question is really simple… they JACK UP the halves and put heavy duty TROLLEYS under them. Then, they let each half of the modular home down on to trolleys! 11am came and went … no modular… not even a sign of it coming!   About 11:30 am, one of the kids watching the crew working, yelled out there was a modular at the end of our road!

backing modular down the street

Backing the modular up two blocks

Then, the boss of the special set up crew, Mr. Howe, came on site to look at the rail systems to make sure everything was in order. Finding everything in order, he left to bring the first half of the modular onto the lot. The modular was taken down the street… Sure enough… there was our house… at last it had arrived!  Then, one of the men said there was a PROBLEM… why not, Mother Nature got our message and held back the storms… I guess SOMEONE didn’t pass the message to THE FATE GROUP!  As luck would have it… GET READY… this half of the modular was FACING THE WRONG DIRECTION!  Some how it had to be turned around so that, the correct side would be facing the right direction!  After what seemed to be a very long time, I saw the BACK OF OUR NEW HOME… COMING TOWARDS US… GOOD GRAVY… THEY WERE BACKING THAT HALF OF THE modular… two whole blocks to get to the lot… AND THEN… they had to swing it into the lot.  Also, they had to get this half as close to the foundation as possible!  Imagine this… the modular is 66 ft. long, with a 2-4 ft. over lap for the truck’s bed!  And then you have to add on another 6-8 ft. for the cab of the truck!! NOW, imagine having to back this 70+ ft. long monstrosity two blocks, and then… swinging it into its parking spot… You all know how difficult it is to back a car up to get into a small parking space; now you can see why, Mr. Howe asked every one to park their cars and trucks on only one side of the street.

van in yard as modular passes

Van pushed into yard to allow modular to pass

A simple request turned out to be harder than expected… OUR 1989 LARGE VAN would not start! Due to the fire, we had not been able to get away for our Flea Markets.  Because we had not run the van…the battery wasn’t charged up!  No, matter… EVERYONE just pushed it up in the lawn where it wasn’t going to be in any one’s way.

modular next to lot

Modular almost to lot

Everything’s ready… rails are in place, cars are parked on one side of the street and every special crew member is at their station ready for the modular to get onto lot… then onto the foundations!

first half modular backed in

Piece of cake if you know how to drive this BIG one

Mr. Howe made it look …soooo… easy as he backed up the modular. Did I mention, he had to swing the modular between a satellite dish and a power pole? By watching him backing up that 70 plus feet rig, you would have thought those two blocks were more like 2 ft… And with just a few adjustments, he had that monstrosity backed up, swung around and ready to be put onto the trolleys!

preparing rails for modular

Preparing the rails for the modular

As soon as the truck was in place, several men started undoing and removing the fasteners which kept the modular on the transport truck as it made its way to our site. After this was finished, they brought out some very large jack stands which had been modified.

These jack stands had a heavy duty platform welded to the side of them; this then allowed a hydraulic jack to be placed on it and as the jack raised the modular a large safety lock pen was inserted into the holes of the jack stands… every time the jack stand’s holes would line up in went a safety lock pen and this went on until that modular was about 4 ft. in the air. As soon as the modular was raised enough to clear the truck’s bed… away went the truck to bring back the other half of the house! While Mr. Howe was hooking his big rig to the other half of the house… the men were quickly putting together the part of the rail system which had to be done after the house was jacked up and was above the height of the foundation’s walls.

modular being pushed

Modular being pushed by men across foundation.

This crew worked so well together that everything was ready to lower the 1st half of the house down onto the rail system…What I saw happen next was unbelievable…4-5 men, using no motors or winches, pushed the house all the way across the foundation’s right side clear across to the left side… then 2 men pushed the house 4-5 inches to the front part of the foundation… the unbelievable result was … IT FIT PERFECTLY on the foundation’s walls!  Boy-oh-boy, to have everything line up the first time was unbelievable!

1st half in place

1st half in place

The men started to work immediately… removing all the plastic wrappings which kept the modular from getting road dust or wetness into the house as it was transported to our site. Almost-there.-Easy-as-making-a-pie

They really had to hurry because… It started to lightly sprinkle! AND THE OTHER HALF OF THE MODULAR WAS WAITING TO BE SET IN PLACE!

Turning into lot

Making final turn into lot

It was around 2pm when all at once I saw the other half of our modular being backed up just like the first half had been done… again Mr. Howe made this task look so simple! A few minor adjustments and the 2nd half was right along side the foundation wall ready to be jacked up and rolled onto the other half of the foundation’s wall.

ready for the jacks

Backed into place… ready for the jacks.

Once again, the crew went to work repeating the same steps as they had performed in order to get the 1st half in place!

jacking modular from truck

Jacking up modular off truck

The crew also removed the transport wrappings and BINGO… they pushed it up to the 1st half.

getting ready to move modular to foundation

Getting ready to push 2nd half to foundation

The remainder of the day was spent securing the two halves together.Here-is-comes

 

Three teams of 2 men… one team at the front end; one team underneath in the middle of the house and the other team at the backend…went to work attaching 12” plates on each half of the house.

two halves not together

Pulling the two halves together.

These plates had large rings welded on them for placing a device called a-come-a-long between the two halves. When all teams were ready, they started to ratchet the halves slowly together until each half met.

removing wrap

Removing wrap

All the time this work was going on, black clouds could be seen in the East and seemed to go straight North… missing us once again! Thank you Mother Nature! I wondered what God said to her causing her to leave us alone once again!! And just like before, when the job was finished it POURED… as though Mother Nature was letting out her vengeance! It rained most of the night, but stopped by early morning. The men arrived and started working on some of the outside jobs which still had to be finished.

Removing protective materials

Beginning to look like a home. Removing protective materials.

As they worked, Chuck, from Riley’s arrived to examine everything and to tell us he was going to have men come next week to work on the exterior, the porches and the interior.

Thanks from Gifts & Collectibles Galore for letting us share our excitement and what we learned about setting a modular in place.

Next Blog – The Outside work and Porches

Start of second day of work on the foundation

Second day for the foundation and another day of threats of rain.  Will the men be able to have good start before the rains come in?  Bright and early, we heard the noises of the men coming to work.

men laying blocks to foundation

Men starting in each corner to lay the blocks

There was a team on each corner of the foundation starting laying the blocks that had been placed in the day before.   It was neat watching the men starting each corner and carefully laying the blocks working away from the corners like stepping stones.  Eventually, the blocks from the corner were placed in a way to reach at the middle of each side in a coordinated fashion.

truck with loads of blocks

Truck carrying blocks arrive

 

A truck with a long bed arrived carrying several pallets of blocks.  My thoughts were the men would set up a chain and would start moving the blocks off the trucks by passing the blocks from man to man.  But, no!  My husband called me to watch.

blcoks being lifted off truck

Boom with harness carries blocks on pallet off truck

A boom was raised with that appeared to be a harness with long arms.  My first thought was…what in the world is that thing?  There was a place on the trailer next to the cab that had a small area that appeared to be a control center.   Next things I saw was the man moving levels and the boom arm with the harness started going up in the air.  He maneuvered the harness so that the two arms swung around facing the pallet of blocks.  He guided the two arms into the middle sections of the pallet and then started lifting the stack of blocks on the pallet.  There had to be over several hundred pounds of blocks.

blocks being carried to foundation

Blocks being carried to foundation

Carefully, the man guided the arm to lift the pallet of blocks off the trucks and swung the blocks carefully over the foundation and then started lowering them in the center at one end for the men.  The men carefully pulled out the arms on the harness and waved for the control man to raise the harness out of the foundation area.

blocks placed on ground

Blocks placed on ground for men to remove off pallet

The control man then maneuvered the arms on the harness into another pallet of blocks and again the boom was raised and swung into another area for the men.  This went on several times until all the blocks were delivered.  In years past, what would have taken several hours of physical work was achieved in a short time with just controlling a harness with arms.

As the day went on, the men continued to lay the blocks around the edging of the foundation, and around the area for the two porches.

pillars being formed in center

Pillars being formed down the middle of foundation

Then pillars were formed in precised areas down the center of the foundation in preparation for the two halves of the modular.  So far we only had a slight sprinkle at one time, but not enough to even get wet.  Mother Nature is trying to help us.  Dark clouds would pass over head but kept going without the rain.  Finally, the blocks were all in position and then men were ready to leave.  The foundation was complete.  The men were not gone more than 15 – 30 minutes when Mother Nature cut loose with rain for about an hour.

back fill around foundation

Back fill around foundation

On day three, the men came back, poured pea gravel into the areas of the porches; put a wooded frame on top of the blocks with some type of padding for the modular to rest upon.  When this was completed, the in loaded worked to push the dirt back up against the foundation and the final clean up.  This was all completed around 4-5 hours.  The foundation was completed and now we wait for the modular.

From Gifts and Collectibles Galore, we thank you for letting us share our experiences with  you.

Next Blog…Finally The Modular arrives!

Posted by: evesmarketing | June 8, 2013

Help our House is on Fire – The Foundation Starts

 

Help our House is on Fire – Day One Start of the Foundation

On Monday, we heard noises coming from the lot next door.  A truck carrying an in loader on a flat bed arrived and was backing into the lot.  Two other trucks with men and a third truck pulling a flat bed followed.  The men told us, they were trying to work on a project in Southern Illinois but got stuck from all the rain they were having.  So, since we were next, it was decided to stop that job and come up to ours instead.  We were excited but at the same time, we were scheduled to have rain the next several days starting on Wednesday.  Would that affect us also?

We did not see the men on Tuesday raising my concern we would get rained out also.  On Wednesday heard noises coming from the lot and saw Chuck Pierman, the project manager pointing in different directions as if giving instructions.  I talk to one of the men about the rain and he told me they had checked the radar and appeared that they would have time to get work done before it started to rain. Weather report was 10% chance of rain by 3:00 PM 20% by 4:00 PM and 50% by 5:00 PM. Within seconds, the men were running strings from the pins and were marking the spot for the foundation walls and even where the porches were going.  Two different colors of markings were used to differentiate the walls from the porches.  Sting was going in different directions, but to the men it guided the men as to what they were to do next.

After the markings and strings were completed, the tractor/in loader was taken off the flat bed of the truck.  Like magic, the driver started removing dirt going along the line that had been drawn.  A second man was holding a special tool (don’t know the name) and would following in the trench that was being dug.  With this tool, the man would direct the driver in the in loaded as to the depth that was needed. Little more dir would be removed and then the 2nd man would check the depth and give hand signals to the diver as it was fine or needed to be a little deeper.  Foot by foot the two men worked together as they dug following the lines and rechecking the depth each time.  Meanwhile the other men were getting their equipment together and another left with one of the trucks.  When we came back he had a load of pea gravel.

The in loaded then starting digging a trench down the center of what was going to be the foundation…  like cutting the foundation in half.  Again the 2nd man would double check the dept and so they continued.  As the area was being cut in half, pea gravel would be placed on top of the two sections that remained between the trenches.  As the gravel was dumped on the ground section, the men would use tools to smooth the rock out.  This continued for most of the morning.  In loaded digging the ditch and the men putting gravel on the ground in the center  sections and smoothing the gravel.

By one o’clock that afternoon, that phase of the work was completed.  Then we heard the sounds of a cement mixer coming down the road.  Yup!  It’s coming here.  The truck back in as close as he could and the men attached shuts to swing over the trenches.  Foot by foot the concrete was poured into the trenches while the men would come behind smoothing the cement.   When the front was almost complete, a second truck came and backed into the back of the foundation.  After getting it set up, half of the men worked smoothing the cement with the second truck and the first group worked with the first truck.  Boy, if you ever wanted to see team work in action, this group of men demonstrated teamwork.  All was completed around 3 – 4 PM.  Wow!  When there had been some down time, one of the men had gone and gotten several blocks on his flat trailer.  So between 4-5 PM these blocks were placed on top of the gravel in the center of the foundation to get ready to tomorrow.  The last man left about 5:30.  It was not but 15 min and the rain came and poured for about an hour and then quit.

This was just day one….will we be rained out tomorrow?

Posted by: evesmarketing | June 2, 2013

Help our House is on Fire – Day one of the Foundation

Help our House is on Fire – Day one preparation of Foundation for Modular

 

On Monday, we heard noises coming from the lot next door.  A truck carrying an in loader on a flat bed arrived and was backing into the lot. 

equipment for foundation

Equipment arriving for the Foundation

Two other trucks with men and a third truck pulling a flat bed followed.  The men told us, they were trying to work on a project in Southern Illinois but got stuck from all the rain they were having.  So, since we were next, it was decided to stop that job and come up to ours instead.  We were excited but at the same time, we were scheduled to have rain the next several days starting on Wednesday.  Would that affect us also?

We did not see the men on Tuesday raising my concern we would get rained out also. 

chuck giving instruction

Chuck here giving instructions.

On Wednesday heard noises coming from the lot and saw Chuck Pierman, the project manager pointing in different directions as if giving instructions.  I talk to one of the men about the rain and he told me they had checked the radar and appeared that they would have time to get work done before it started to rain. Weather report was 10% chance of rain by 3:00 PM 20% by 4:00 PM and 50% by 5:00 PM.

lines are complete to begin

Lines are complete to begin

Within seconds, the men were running strings from the pins and were marking the spot for the foundation walls and even where the porches were going.  Two different colors of markings were used to differentiate the walls from the porches.  String was going in different directions, but to the men it guided the men as to what they were to do next.

first bucket of dirt

First bucket of dirt

After the markings and strings were completed, the tractor/in loader was taken off the flat bed of the truck.  Like magic, the driver started removing dirt going along the line that had been drawn.  A second man was holding a special tool (don’t know the name) and would following in the trench that was being dug.  With this tool, the man would direct the driver in the in loaded as to the depth that was needed.

the inloader digging

The work begins

Little more dirt would be removed and then the 2nd man would check the depth and give hand signals to the diver as it was fine or needed to be a little deeper.  Foot by foot the two men worked together as they dug following the lines and rechecking the depth each time. 

in loader digging trenches

Front foundation done in what seemed just few minutes

Meanwhile the other men were getting their equipment together and another left with one of the trucks.  When we came back he had a load of pea gravel. 

Inloader finishing center of foundation

In loaded finished digging trench down center

The in loaded then starting digging a trench down the center of what was going to be the foundation…  like cutting the foundation in half.  Again the 2nd man would double check the dept and so they continued.  As the area was being cut in half, pea gravel would be placed on top of the two sections that remained between the trenches.  As the gravel was dumped on the ground section, the men would use tools to smooth the rock out.  This continued for most of the morning.  In loaded digging the ditch and the men putting gravel on the ground in the center  sections and smoothing the gravel. 

center trench finished

Center trench finished

By one o’clock that afternoon, that phase of the work was completed.  Then we heard the sounds of a cement mixer coming down the road.  Yup!  It’s coming here. 

cement truck arrives

Cement Mixer Truck Arrives

The truck back in as close as he could and the men attached shuts to swing over the trenches.  Foot by foot the concrete was poured into the trenches while the men would come behind smoothing the cement.  

men smoothing cement

Men smoothing cement

When the front was almost complete, a second truck came and backed into the back of the foundation. 

guilding cement as it pours

Guiding the cement as it pours

After getting it set up, half of the men worked smoothing the cement with the second truck and the first group worked with the first truck. 

cement truck in back

Cement truck in back with more cement

Boy, if you ever wanted to see team work in action, this group of men demonstrated teamwork. 

last of concrete fill

Front concrete almost finished

All was completed around 3 – 4 PM.  Wow!  When there had been some down time, one of the men had gone and gotten several blocks on his flat trailer. 

placing blacks inside foundation

Getting ready for tomorrow with a few blocks

So between 4-5 PM these blocks were placed on top of the gravel in the center of the foundation to get ready to tomorrow.  The last man left about 5:30.  It was not but 15 min and the rain came and poured for about an hour and then quit.  For questions, please email us.

This was just day one…will we be rained out tomorrow?

Permit and Making the Final Plans on our Modular.

How exciting to be another step closer towards getting a new rental home. It seems like only yesterday our rental property had caught on fire and was a total lost. Since then, we have had the old burnt house excavated, trees trimmed, and the lot surveyed and plotted.  Now we can put the bad memories behind us and can look toward the future… a new rental house… a modular home from Riley’s Homes in Urbana, Illinois.

 

The Building Permit Process

While contacting several people in regards to the zoning rules, one of the zoning committee members,  Mrs. Riggle, not only brought me a copy of the zoning rules, but she also brought me the form which had to be completed for the committee. 

 

city permit form to build

Form for City Permit to Build

We made a copy of the zoning rules because the booklet had to be returned to the committee.    We also met with Chuck Pierman (project manager for the modular site) and asked him for a drawing showing the modular’s placement on the lot.   Also, the committee needed to know who would be the electrician doing the modular’s electrical hook up.

 

lot lay out

Lot lay out

Chuck made the drawing which showed the lot was 66’ by 132’ and he included how the modular would set on the lot including drawings of the porches. The form for the zoning committee was completed along with the following information: request date; who the permit would be granted to; permit location according to… Block and lot number…Street and House number: Purpose of the permit;  Total value of construction;  name of Contractors and finally if we were going to have air conditioners.  Towards the bottom of the permit was an area for each of the board members to sign.  Then, we made a packet which included: the completed building permit form, the drawing of the lot and how the modular would be placed on it also included… a copy of the floor plan of the actual modular with the sizes of each room. This packet was given to Mrs. Riggle. In just a few days, there was a knock on our door. There with our permit was Mrs. Riggle.  The committee had met and approved the permit.  We are now set!  How exciting to be another step closer towards getting a new rental home.   It seems like only yesterday our rental property had caught on fire and was a total lost.   Since then, we have had the old burnt house excavated, trees trimmed, and the lot surveyed and plotted.   Now we can put the bad memories behind us and can look toward the future… a new rental house… a modular home from Riley’s in Urbana, Illinois.

Final Plans on the Modular

As the different phases on the site were being completed i.e. excavation, tree trimmings and surveying, we were making several trips to Riley’s Homes in Urbana, in order to lay out the plans as to the placement of the modular on the lot.  We also wanted to know the different options available for the modular.  Our first big decision was the lay out of the modular.  As you can see…the modular we wanted was 60’ long and our lot was only 66’ foot wide.  In the zoning rules, there had to be 10’ from each side from the house to the property line.  We only had 3’ on each side to give, so we knew this would not work.  We looked at other modular homes which were only 56’ wide, but we could not find any designed the way we needed and design we wanted. Next, we considered taking the modular plans we liked and have the front made in such a way as to make it smaller in front.  But, could not…so our decision was to put the modular long ways on the lot.

 

original modular floor plan

Original modular floor plan

However, the particular plan we liked had a utility/mud room at one end… THE WRONG END!   So, we decided to flip the floor plans from one end to the other end!   This would allow the utility room to set on the south end of the modular and would become the entrance way into the house.

example of porch

Example of porch to be added

And to help make this END look more like a front entrance way… we worked with Toby, our salesman, to make a small front porch with side pillars holding up a small peaked roof extension.  This sharp looking front porch add-on will provide some protection against the elements as people enter the house!

new modular plan with changes

New Plans for Modular with changes

We also looked at a new front door for the utility room’s door to help complete our new front end look! Toby, also suggested, we flip the modular side to side.  Instead of kitchen, dining room, and utility room being on the east side, they would be on the west side.  This way, the utility room’s outside door would be closer to our home next door and all the bedrooms would be on the east side.  We looked at the end of the modular again, to see what else we could do to make it look more like an entrance way and the front of a house rather than just the end of a house. To help accomplish this, we had the window of the bedroom #3  moved from the east side to the north side thus putting the window toward the street side! Also, we requested that the transferred regular window be replaced with a bay window with shutters!  NOW the …hang on… here it goes…the turned around, flipped flopped modular’s end actually does look like a normal front of the house!  Thanks to Toby’s real concern for us and our unusual space problem, he made a seemingly impossible problem possible!  We feel  only at Riley’s Mfg. Homes could this problem have been solved!!

Also, we needed a side covered porch of approximately 8’ x 18’.   This size porch was needed for two reasons the first being this… on the old burnt out house’s front porch…we were able to save all those 14 jalousie windows as described in our earlier blog.   We were now going to work on using these 14 windows on an enclosed west porch to be put on the  side of the modular starting with the modular’s original front door and going north along the east side of the modular to the North end.  This covered porch would be approximate 8’ x 18’.  You ask might ask why this size porch?   Well…  Since the modular had to set long ways on the property and we were going to use the utility room as the new front entrance way, this door size could create problems when bringing in larger appliances  and larger items i. e. furniture pieces.  Even if the furniture would fit through the outside door, the door leading from the utility room into the hallway might be too small.   So… We would still need to utilize the original door way Mfg. front door which is now on the East side of the modular home.   To be sure we had enough room to swing appliances and larger items into the house, we needed to make the porch at least 8’ wide.  The porch would run along the east side of the modular and open towards the North…the back of the property.  Also, this would allow the door to face the back of the property in the event a garage would be built at a later date.

We had also discussed having a small storage shed built or bought for tools, mower, etc.  We need this shed because… In the old burnt up house everything was stored either on the large front porch or the large back porch!   We also considered what renters would do in the event of a tornado.  We heard about other modular home owners having a crawl space with a door which allowed them to go under the modular house in the event of a tornado.  Looking at this as a possible secure spot in the event of a tornado warning, we requested the crawl space door to be put close to the back door of the porch on the north end of the modular.

Finally, we chose the color of the modular’s shutters, rain drainage system, roofing, and trim works. The biggest positive piece of advice we have to offer is this… by buying from Riley’s Mfg. Homes in Urbana, Illinois, we were able to go inside and view the different demo modulars they had setting on the lot. We were actually able to view the many offered options as they would appear in our new home… rather than having to look at options in a catalog while trying to make decisions we would have to live with for years to come!  Believe me when I say… If you are looking to get a new home… a visit to Riley’s Mfg. Homes in Urbana, Illinois is your best bet… You will save BIG BUCKS!!!

Wow, this was exhausting work but exciting…and this was just the main floor plan, this does not including the rooms, cabinets, flooring, etc.  That will have to be another blog.  For now thanks for reading. If you have any questions in regards to our blog, feel free to contact us or respond to this blog. 

Next Blog:  The Foundation is Started

Finding a Tree Trimmer

Fires can cause hidden damages which show up after a certain period of time has passed.  Damages of this type can be costly to repair or to correct.  We had such damage and it wasn’t discovered until a tree trimming company (Mike Miller’s Tree Service) came to our fire site to give us an estimate for having a few trees trimmed and three removed.   As Mr. Miller walked about the site, he noticed the trees next to the fire had branches drooping and were rubbing on our home’s roof!   These had to be trimmed or we could have roof damage!   We had known that three trees were fire damaged and would have to be removed, but we did not see the tree limbs hitting our own home’s roof.   We are thankful for having Mr. Miller come to the site before giving us an estimate for removing the trees.   Because… if he hadn’t seen those limbs and we had the new house put in, I don’t see how those limb could have been trimmed.   Our home’s roof would have been damage in the first real storm!   Once again we were shown that hiring professional people is the best road to go.  

getting ready to trim trees

Getting ready to trim trees

When Miller’s Tree Service equipment started arriving, we started getting excited! We were now another step closer to the arrival of the new modular.  

cherry picker getting set up

Cherry picker getting set up

This three men crew was AWESOME… they did not stand around waiting for this or that… each person knew what needed done and it got done…Awesome!!!

We found ourselves mesmerized by the way Mr. Miller’s crew went about doing their work. First, they would set up their bucket truck at area to be worked. Next, using the truck’s big stabilizing foot pads… located on each side of the truck… they would extend these feet for stability.

men going up in bucket

Men going up in bucket

Finely, two men would crawl into the bucket and off they would go…up…up…up into the air, stopping right next to the tree limbs they were wanting to trim!

trimming smaller branches first

Trimming smaller branches first.

Beginning with the smaller limbs, they would trim a pathway to the larger limbs. Each time a limb was cut by the saw man, the other man would carefully remove it and put it into the waiting flat bed truck below. This process was repeated over and over until all that remained was just a trunk was easily handled by the ground crew.

trimming higher brances

Mike made trimming the higher branches look easy.

On the very tall trees, they would extend the boom and maneuver the bucket between the branches, carefully cutting only the limbs needing to be cut.

 

bucket going between branches

Going between the tree limbs to get to branches over roof.

My husband and I spent the whole day watching them.  FANTASIC is all I can say. 

cutting braches up high

Cutting the branches up high.

They even cleaned up and hauled away any trees limbs not wanted.  If you need trees trimmed or cut down…we recommend Mike Miller’s Trees Service HIGHLY! We had a tree trimmed in our back yard since branches over lapped into neighbors yard.

bucket over fence trimming branches

Trimming branches on tree in back yard going over a fence.

We thought you might enjoy seeing some real pros in action, so we took pictures as Mr. Miller and his crew worked… hope you enjoy each picture! 

We were not the only ones watching….our two dogs and our daughter’s two dogs (from the fire) watched the men also.  What entertainment!!!  You might be wondering why the rope and wire between the pole and fence??  The hound dog (grandson’s dog) is a Houdini. He can find a way out every time.  So, we had to dog proof our back yard to keep him in.  We have chicken wire in any area that we think he might try to get out!!!

dogs watching men trim tree

Even the dogs enjoyed watching the men trim trees

Search for the Surveyor

Next, we had to find a licensed surveyor.   Before the foundation, the footing and digging started, we needed to have the lot surveyed, plotted and boundaries marked!   We called several surveyors, and checked with friends in the community for recommendations for a surveyor.  Boy, if you have never had you property surveyed lately….you will be in for a shock.   This turned out to be a higher expense than the tree trimmers.  Based on our research, we chose a surveyor from our area and contacted him for the job.  But due to Mother Nature doing her thing again…we had to wait.  Once the weather started cooperating, we called Mr. Zillman, the surveyor, and in a few days he came.  He was very professional and polite.  He went right to work, finding the actual corner pins for our lot. 

lot market and red flag

Lot marker and red flag

These corner pins had to be marked before any work could be started.  For several hours Mr. Zillman worked carefully, discovering each corner pin then uncovered each one. Then he set up his laser measuring device.  Mr.Zillman then proceed to walk from one corner pin to the other until all four corners had been measured… marking off the lot! 

lot pin with flad and line for property

Lot pin with red flag and lines set up for property identification.

After completing the job, he told us, he would be back with a written description and diagram of the lot.  Within a few days, Mr. Zillman came to our house with two copies of our Plat and Certificate of Survey for the lot he had surveyed.

With the trees now being trimmed and three trees removed, and lot surveyed, we were ready to request our permit to build.  Thanks for reading…. John and Carrol

Next Blog… Getting the permit and putting final plans on the modular.

Posted by: evesmarketing | April 28, 2013

My house is on fire cont. – The Excavation Starts

The Clean up and Excavation Starts

The huge dumpster arrived on the back of a long truck bed on Friday afternoon.  Then came another truck carry a medium size excavator.   Several neighbors came expecting to see the work started.  But since it was a Friday afternoon, the workers were only getting set up for Monday morning.

truck with large dumpster

Truck bring in a large dumpster

first dumpster arrives

First dumpster arrives

Monday morning, two trucks with three – four men arrived ready to start the day.

maciine to remove debris

Machine brought in to remove debris

Mr. Kistler’s plan was to start in the back and work towards the front.

starting the clean up

Starting the clean up.

He started a pile of metal to the back of the lot and then would put the rest of the debris in the dumpster.

Inch by inch he worked… hour by hour.

working inch by inch

Mr. Kistler working inch by inch.

It was exciting to watch him work with his machine that reminded me of a small dinosaur eating through the debris.

bucket looked like dinosaur head

Looked the head of dinosaur

 

As I watched from our lot, I could see the machine’s bucket appear over debris looking like the head of a dinosaur.

dinosaur eating

Looked like head of dinosaur eating the house

I continued to have mixed emotions watching each day.  Excitement watching the machine lift large amount of debris into the dumpster and yet seeing that same machine pick up a small piece of metal and put it into the pile of metal.   But, I also felt sad as I recall the man hours my husband and I worked on this rental property.

As you see…we had bought this old run down home in the 1990’s.  We had the electrical wiring redone, most of the plumbing, new insulation, siding and roofing.  In the kitchen, we had put new flooring down, new cabinets with a new cabinet top, repainted the walls, and put in a neon ceiling light.   That was just the kitchen.  New toilet, tub, sink with cabinet, and flooring in the bathroom.   We had put paneling into several rooms, with new light fixtures.   The dining room still had the old flooring which was in good shaped and had spent several hours sanding the floor.   Austin room was a little special.   We had helped to tear down an old frame house several years prior and had saved this beautiful barn wood.   We put these 4 feet tall barn wood panels around his room and topped it with a board to add a shelf.   On this shelf Austin had put his prize wrestling trophies and the trophies and ribbons he had won when showing sheep with his grandfather at the county and state fairs.   We had also bought several zealous windows when the deal presented itself.   We spent several hours installing these windows on the front porch.  Since during the fire the wind was blowing to the North rather than the South which helped to preserve the windows…we were able to remove and save these 14 windows.   Our plan was to have a porch on the new modular and to reuse these windows.   We also had new two-way windows installed on all the windows, plus new doors.  Yes, this was sad to see our work go up in smoke. But the family was safe!   These were just material things that could be replaced…but not the family and their dogs.

removel of roof

Removal of roof

Each day, Mr. Kistler and his little machine inched their way thought all the debris.

machine eating the roof

Machine eating away at the roof.

Most of the days, I would watch until his machine started on the remaining roof section.   To hear the crunch, crunch, crunch, as the machine would take a bite and rip it away was too much to watch and hear.  Thank the good Lord my daughter and the boys at school as this would be heart breaking to watch and hear.

front of house shell coming

Working toward the front shell of house

As each dumpster would be filled, the truck would come with a new one and the filled dumpster would be removed.  I lost count after 6 loads.

dumpster full of debris

Another dumpster full of debris

The dumpsters would be alternated, the new one to the back yard, and then the driver would pick up the full dumpster toward the front of the house.

Next time, the new dumpster would go to the front, and the filled dumpster in the back yard would be picked up.  Next, the new dumpster would go to the back and the filled dumpster in the front would be picked up.  And so this continued…very organized…just like clockwork.

roof being removed

Roof being removed

Each day, Mr. Kistler and his crew worked and finally Friday came.

partial basement exposed

Partial basement now exposed.

The partial basement was now exposed and was filled with concrete slabs, bricks and then pea gravel that was brought in.  There had also been a cistern and an old well that had to be filled plus an old septic tank that had just been pumped out a few months ago.   These needed to be filled with solid material rather than just dirt to support the new foundation for the new modular.

And…then there was  still the metal pile to be removed.   I had to laugh; there in the pile was my daughter stock pot she had bought just a few months ago.

stock pot saved from fire

Stock pot fund in pile of debris

She had borrowed ours several times until she was able to purchase one herself.   She had whined about losing her’s in the fire.   I could not believe what I was seeing.  HER CROCK POT!   Mr. Kistler was able to pull it out of the pile for me.   It was black and was dented in on one side.  Mr. Kistler was able to pop the side out leaving just a small dent.  The pot was black from soot so took it home to my husband to clean.   The pot cleaned up nicely and was just like new…shiny but missing the lid.   As a joke we boxed it up and gave it to our daughter on Easter as part of her Easter basket.  You have to make some fun out of a bad situation.

Mr. Kistler and his crew continue to clean up the lot and to remove all the debris.  They even walked the lot picking up any objects that might have been left behind.   A tractor had been brought in to smooth out any ruts left by the equipment.

only lilac bush remains

Only lilac bush remains

   By 3:00 Friday,  all was completed.  Just in time for the week-end and a winter storm which dropped 8 inches of snow on Saturday.  Wow!!!   The good Lord was watching over us.  We are still on track with our schedule.  Once weather clears up next will be the tree trimmer and the surveyor on our list. … John and Evelyn

Next Blog – Tree trimmer, Surveyor, and OH YES… Mother Nature!

 Clean-up… out with the old and in with the new… MAYBE!

excavation

hiring an excavator

Sure sounds easy doesn’t it?… out with the old and in with the new… Please believe us when we tell you it is not easy at all!   We asked around and got VERY LUCKY because we found Kistler’s Excavation Company which had done removal work on other local fire sites.   Plus… several people from our area had recommended him to us due to his quality work at very reasonable prices.   So, we set up a time to meet with Mr. Kistler and to view the house site.   After this meeting we asked him if he would be willing to tear down, haul away the debris and clean up the lot.   We also asked Mr. Kistler to submit an estimate for this work.   His submitted estimate was very reasonable for removing the debris of a two story house.   Then he dropped a bomb shell on us… He could not begin the work until we contacted Julie and Ameren who would mark all the gas, water, and any other lines which might be buried on the lot.  As you can see…we are new to all of this and appreciate his help!

meeting with ameran

meeting with Ameren

So…we contacted Ameren to make arrangements. Ameren told us two people would come out and see what was needed to be done   They explained what needed to get done before the clean up work could begin! Ameren agreed to cut the gas line back at the ally which is located in the back of the lot; this being done to prevent equipment getting caught in a buried line during the excavation phase.

disconneting electricAlso, the electricity’s main service line had to be removed at the main transformer pole which was at the corner of the lot!   Next, the water line had to be turned off at the meter.   Finally, we met with everyone to set a date to get the gas line cut off at the ally.

mother nature

Mother Nature puts her two cents in!

The day Ameren was to arrive, Mother Nature stepped in with rain, sleet, snow and freezing cold temperatures!  So we had to wait and reschedule again!   We needed a surveyor also, so at this time we shopped around for estimates and accepted Mr. Zillman’s bid for surveying the lot and marking the lot’s boundaries.

surveyor

Surveyor for marking corners of lot.

Mr. Zillman could not survey the lot until the house was gone and the big equipment was gone too.  This other work had to be done first, to prevent his boundary markers from being damaged or moved.  After Mr. Zillman was hired we felt better about the placement of the new home…Until Ameren came back the next day and completed cutting off the gas line. At this time we were informed there would be an initial cost of $750 to re-hook up the gas line…PLUS… a fee of $6.50 per foot to re-run the new lines… our lot is 132 ft. long! O joy… more COST… Less money… But you know what… METLIFE is still here helping us!

Now you can see how important it is to have the right insurance policies and COMPANY… We thank God for METLIFE and their Adjuster, Kevin Kemper!

Next Blog….the dumpster arrive and work begins

Posted by: evesmarketing | March 26, 2013

Our House is On Fire – Road to Recovery

shell looking at front of house

Shell looking at front of house

Our House is On Fire Continued – Road to Recovery

Reality sets in… NO  we were not dreaming!  Our rental property…daughter’s home was a total lost from the fire.  Only the shell of the house remained!

kitchen and back porch gone

Kitchen and back porch gone due to fire

We knew the next several days were going to be very trying… Several friends and neighbors helped  to get the dog house situated in our back yard for our older grandson’s beetle dog.  Our grandson was in college during this time.  However he was called by his friends in Sidell telling him  his house was on fire.  How traumatic!!  They were even sending  him pictures via their phones of the fire and the firefighters .  It’s hard to put yourself in his shoes… knowing your home is on fire and not being able to be there to help.

Miraculously  help stated arriving even though the fire was still raging i.e. one neighbor brought over a coat for Austin to wear because he had lost his in the fire. My daughter had arrived from work and was distraught… her house … her and the kids home was burning.  Suddenly there was hope…  My daughter was told to make an appointment with one of the churches which had clothes for just this type of situation.  The next day C.J.  did go, and was given a coat and a few other items she could wear.  She still had only the clothes on her back and these were work clothes!!  Thanks God for Goodwill, because I went the next day and was able to get a few items for her …especially sleeping clothes.  You see, she had to wear her dad’s T-shirt to bed because all she had left from the fire, was the uniform she was wearing from work and one hair clip.

Our MetLife insurance adjustor, Kevin Kemper, was on the spot the next day just as he had promised.   The first thing Kevin did was to ask what was our immediate needs.  He then began to explain all our options.  We were given several options as to what we wanted to do with our insurance money i.e.  1) Do nothing and keep the money  2) Buy another house elsewhere  3) Build a home on the same lot  or 4) Buy a modular or manufactured home and place it on the same lot.    After looking at several homes for sale in our areas, we decided to buy a modular or manufactured home.  We found a manufactured home we liked in a town close to us.  It was 56′ x 60′ .  We asked ourselves …Was this to be the new rental property/C.J.’s home?   But,  if the Sidell’s  zoning codes required more than 5′ from building to property line, then we knew we were going to have a problem.

For the next three days, we were bombarded by the local fire marshal and the state fire marshal because the total loss was far above $25,000! Even MetLife had their own fire marshal come out to the site with Kevin, our insurance adjustor!    Each time we had to sign papers which gave each fire marshal our permission to enter the property and to remove anything which might lead them to discover the cause of the fire.  Since the fire had started in the area of the microwave and had spread to the garbage container, the fire was ruled accidental.

close up utility room burnt

Close up utility room

Questions were asked about our real estate taxes and mortgage. We were asked if these were up to date and current. We were even asked if we still owed a balance on the mortgage! Why were we asked these questions you might ask?   It’s because these balances are taken first from the claim check!   If the home’s mortgage is paid off, then… they must have an OFFICIAL copy which must state the mortgage is paid off!     We could provide OUR copies of the paid real-estate taxes, but they had to be verified by the county clerk and notarized in order to become an OFFICIAL copy!   Since we live in a small town, this meant a one-way 40 minute drive to our county court house. Kevin Kemper, our MetLife adjuster, told us jokingly… the drive to the court house will take longer then getting the taxes verified.  He was right! Once at the court house it took less than 5 minutes for them to look up our taxes and notarize our paper work.

austins bedroom gone

Austin’s bedroom gone

While we were there at the county court house, we also went to the recorder of deeds department… to get a legal record of our lot’s size. From this record we learned our lot was 66’ x 132’ and THIS gave us another problem!   Learning the requirement for Sidell zoning was 10′ on each side of the house to the property line, we knew, this size lot would not allow us to put the home we had looked at originally!!

looking at fire damage bathroom and dining room

Looking through bathroom window of damage
.

Sooooo, back to the drawing board! You see our small town has these things called city ordinances in which…they tell you the distances between homes and boundaries… our new home could not be put on our lot and be in compliance with the town’s ordinances.  We visited several other Modular home sales around the area.  In looking around at what could be put on our lot, we discovered the MOST fantastic home builders… Riley’s  Homes Inc. in Urbana, Il… just North and off of interstate 74.  From the get go to the stop whoa… God sent us another guardian angel…A.K.A… Tobias, nickname Toby!   This guy actually listened to our unique situation, made notes and then asked us questions about our wants and needs for a replacement home. He then took us on a tour of their homes on their huge demo lot… in each home he explained what could be changed to fit our lot!

model home at rileys

Model Modular at Rileys

We went back 5 or 6 times, and each time he was friendly and very helpful.  We finely decided to put money down on a home that we could redesign for the lot size. When we told Toby, MetLife had already cut us a check… Toby could hardly believe it… because so little time had passed since the fire… It had been only 2 weeks ago that our fire ordeal began! Toby told us to have received this money this fast was exceptional… We told Toby… no that was the MetLife way !!!  Toby wanted to know how we were put onto MetLife!   We explained.   We had hear horror stories about insurance claims…but  we are living proof…not all those stories are bad or at least we had chosen the best one thanks to a friend who was selling insurance.  Since we needed rental insurance, he suggested we go with MetLife.  It was the best decision we ever made.

Every phone call, every time one of the adjustors or inspectors came, they were honest, professional, supportive, and caring.  Kevin, our insurance adjustor explained the process each time and the “whys” we need to do certain things.  He kept us informed of our MANY options, and time frames.   It just so happens, we were also scheduled to have our taxes done the day after the fire so this gave us an opportunity to also see what our options were and to verify what we were being told by MetLife.  Our CPA agent told us of what options were available to us.  The options were the same as what METLIFE was telling us.   No Surprises!!!

Valuable Lessons learned:

  1.  Insurance is a MUST… it will not take away the pain and emotion of seeing everything go up in smoke i.e pictures, important papers, military papers, tax papers, clothes, dishes, furniture, computer,….. but it’s a little reassuring that there will be some help.  We have had insurance for years not realizing the day would come when we would need it.
  2. If you do have insurance but not sure if it is the correct choice of insurance…check out METLIFE and compare your coverage with theirs.  Not only have we been VERY PLEASED with the way they are handling our claim BUT we intend to STAY WITH METLIFE.  We have been with them for several years.  From the secretary, to insurance adjustors, and their own fire Marshall, we were treated as if we were their only customer and they held our hands throughout the process.   They could have just come and wrote a check on the spot…but no they have been very thorough to include any new additions we may have made in the last 5 years to the property.  (We had just put in a new boiler for the furnace (base water heat) just 3 years ago.  UGH!
  3. Be sure important papers are in a safe or safety deposit box in your bank.
  4. Take pictures of your valuables (Collections, collectibles of all kinds) and put them in a safe place to verify what you had owned.
  5. Have phone number quickly available for emergencies.
  6. Have insurance papers were you can get to them quickly

We were lucky and the Good Lord blessed us.  Our daughter and grandson were safe.  Our two people, two dogs, home is now a four person, four dog family.  We are still trying to get into routines to support each other and not be in each others way. MetLife sent us the first check within 3 days for lost rent due to the fire.   Within two weeks, we had received four more checks which were broken down for 1)  Excavation  2) Replacement of home 3) landscaping  and  4) Personal items we had supplied for the rental home.   Again, we cannot express our gratitude for the way MetLife worked with us.  If ever there was a top insurance company …our choice would be MetLife when it comes to your home and business.

Next Blog – Part IV – Excavation and clean up

Posted by: evesmarketing | March 23, 2013

My house is on fire continued….

My House is on Fire….continued

back of house on fire

Back of house on fire

 

Here is a brief recap of Part 1… It picks up after the blazing fire was finally put down.

We began to realize that the whole two story home would be a total loss… after 3 to 4 hours of battling the fire, the blowing winds and the icy cold rain, the dancing flames were put down and all that remained was a blackened shell… the weird thing was…

shell looking at front of house

Shell looking at front of house

the front of the house facing the street and winds belied what was behind that shell… every room of the house was completely damaged or gutted! Everything was either burnt up or smoke/ water damaged. We felt so lost and scared… but thankful because no one was lost! The only injury was to Austin (our grandson) who was taken by ambulance to the hospital for smoke inhalation due to his heroic act of trying to fight the fire on his own. We were scared for him and worried about what to do next.

This section of the blog…PART 2… is from Carrol… it expresses a woman’s view of the Fire.

Watching the flames go from room to room, I felt helpless and kept thinking…what can I do?  When I look back, I remember hooking up our hose and hearing my husband yell…the fire is too big you cannot put the fire out with our hose.  But…that was not my plan!  I wanted to spray our house to try and protect it from the flames.  The fire department arrived and everyone was quickly going to work on both sides of the burning house and would also spray the side of our house exposed to the fire.  As I had never been through a fire before, I quickly went back to our home (next door) and called our insurance company McMurray’s in Hoopeston, IL…and explained our rental property was burning and had been told by the fire department, the house was going to be a total lost. Thank God for these wonderful people. She first asked if anyone was hurt, then reassured me we had MetLife insurance and we were in good hands.  She said she would get the ball rolling and would contact the MetLife insurance adjustor who would get back to us within 24 hours.

house next door ...fire out

looking through our kitchen window at house next door after fire was put out

As I was talking to her, I was standing at the sink which has a window facing the fire…  I could not believe my eyes… I could see the flames of the rental house just blazing a few feet from our house… our home!  It is nothing you want to remember, I still cannot get this picture out of my head.  You see the house ablaze… burning… just a few feet away and there’s nothing you can do but stand there and watch…feeling total helplessness!  Then the  fear of it spreading to your own house fills your body and you shutter, then start shaking… frozen in front of that window… praying to God for His protection!  It seemed like just a few minutes, we received a call from the MetLife’s insurance adjustor Kevin Kemper A.K.A. our angel….saying he was in Chicago and would be over in the morning and wanted to know if anyone had been injured. I told him about our grandson being taken to the hospital, but as of this time we had not heard back from his mother who had followed the ambulance to the hospital. (the picture to the left is after the fire was out but shows how close the fire was to our house)

I then went back outside in the event the firemen had any questions. I stood beside our home’s front porch… feeling the wind blowing around 20 miles per hour and gusting even harder! The cold rain… first, a light rain… next, a down pour… was peltering the firemen as they fought the flames!  I found myself frozen in time hoping this was just a dream and I would be waking up anytime.

Around 7:00 pm it seemed all was under control… the fire was out! All Fire departments had gone, but I was also told, someone would be watching the house for flare ups. We went home next door… trying to get settle down, eat something and then would try to  go to sleep. Our daughter had call around 9:00 pm to tell us our grandson was treated for smoke inhalation and was being released.  She was going to pick up a few items at the drug store and his prescription and then would be home. We took our homeless daughter and grandson into our home… all they had was the clothes on their backs… no coats… NO MONEY… not even a change of under wear… no where to go!  Since our couch makes into a bed, at least they were going to have a place to sleep for an undetermined time. Slowly, things were coming together and our family was safe and together. Now… Back to the story with John!

Carrol could not let herself get to sleep because of her concern that the house might once again catch fire and spread to our home. Her fear was we would be sleeping and would die in the rekindled fire! The winds were blowing in swirling gusts… causing our house to shake! Carrol came up to me… put her head on my shoulder and asked what I was doing. I told her I was looking out our kitchen window to see if the rental house was starting to catch fire again… so far all I saw was just some smoke and steam rising up, but no flames so far! As we were talking about the events of this day we both realized we were in shock. You hear stories about fires, but you never dream of them happening to you. As we were talking, Carrol looked over at the gutted house next door and suddenly she could see sparks and a small flame… the house next door had flared up and was once again on fire! So once again, the fire department was called… it was after 10:00 p.m. This time they went in and pulled down ceilings… opened piles of debris and anything which might feed a fire… They spent a long time at this flare up! Carrol was finely able to fall asleep because she felt safe due to the fire engine’s lights dancing on the bed room walls knowing the fire fighters were protecting us.   Tomorrow will be another day facing us with this catastrophic event …or are we just both dreaming the same dream???

Blog Tomorrow – The Next Day!!!

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